The government will intensify its efforts to end decades of crime-related disruptions to schooling in the North Rift.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki Saturday declared that security personnel will deploy every possible response to ensure permanent normalcy and a safe learning environment across all the schools affected by banditry attacks.
“We have visited one of the schools where normalcy is gradually returning. I want to assure you that all the other schools affected will be reopened without exception, and they will never be closed again,” Kindiki said.
The CS, who was addressing a public baraza in Arabal, Baringo County, affirmed certainty and severity of punishment for the sporadic banditry attacks and announced that the state will pull all the stops, including the use of brute-force incapacitation, to make banditry a costly undertaking for the perpetrators and sponsors.
He also warned that the government will pursue group-level and individual accountability for the violence that has claimed hundreds of lives and stunted socio-economic development in the region for decades.
“The government has declared banditry an existential threat to our country’s future. We are going to move in and apply every human resource and weapon we have,” he said. “We will get out all the armory; we will go by land; we will go by air, we will follow them to wherever they go, and we are going to smoke them out of the caves and the forests.”
Further, the CS noted that banditry has outlived previous regimes and called for patience from the residents as the security personnel intensifies patrols and operations until permanent public protection and community safety are realized.
Prof. Kindiki’s visit comes on the heels of an extensive operation jointly mounted by the Rift Valley multi-agency security team in the lead-up to the start of the 2023 school calendar.
With back-up from the recently deployed National Police Reservists, the team last week conducted “Operation Fungua Shule” in Chemorongion, Kapindasum, Mukutani and Arabal areas of Baringo.
President William Ruto directed the Regional and County Security teams to see to it that all the schools reopen for Term One.
“The country will lose a whole generation of young people if schools are closed because of insecurity. It is the worst crime we can commit against our children,” he warned during the annual Kimalel Goat Auction and Cultural Fair in Baringo.
Baringo is among the 14 counties in the expansive Rift Valley that have borne the brunt of drought and famine.
Besides retributive reaction, strategic investment and sustainable development have also taken a prominent place among the government’s planned crime control interventions for Kenya’s Northern frontier and the Kerio Valley belt.
According to Kindiki, the long-term vision is to empower the communities to actively take part in the war against animal rustling and undertake legitimate nation-building activities.
He said plans to distribute subsidized agricultural inputs and extension services to area residents in a bid to revive farming activities as a source of livelihood.